Saturday, September 12th, 2020

Love Regenerator x Steve Lacy – Live Without Your Love

Finally acceptable in the ’20s…


Katherine St Asaph: The past decade has insufficiently prepared us for the discovery that Calvin Harris could be this good. (The Internet’s Steve Lacy sounding this casual but overcome, the vocal equivalent of what-if-we-kissed-haha-unless, you probably could have predicted.)

Oliver Maier: Deploying Lacy here is canny in the same way that Dua Lipa on “One Kiss” was; both can pull off sensual, effortless cool without accidentally being interesting enough to distract from the groove. That puts pressure on Harris to deliver behind the boards, though, and his efforts here are a little austere. Some of his best material — “One Kiss” included — has been from the last couple of years, but his output as Love Regenerator has yet to demonstrate the streak of inspiration that a shiny new alias portends.

Juana Giaimo: Calvin Harris seems to know what he is doing. He can put out a typical (and quite boring) EDM song and also release an (underrated) album influenced by funk. Now, as Love Regenerator, he dives into the rave niche, but can still release “Live Without Your Love”, a more accessible track that shows how well he knows the mainstream. All the layers of this song work very well together. The bass is fast and tense but Steve Lacy’s relaxed voice smoothes it out (I’m also glad it wasn’t autotuned or manipulated in a noticeable way). The soulful backing vocals and piano create a great contrast with the mechanical house beat and I like how at the end more elements start appearing to complete the sonic landscape. As a result, this is an electrifying track that you can also listen to sitting at your desk.

Tobi Tella: Sparse enough that details like the choir’s backing vocals and the little twinkle of synths feel like an event when they come in, which I don’t really know if I think is good or bad. I appreciate the lack of angling for mainstream and going more ~freeform dance~ but I don’t think going somewhere would’ve done it any harm.

Scott Mildenhall: It could only be nominative determinism that led Steve Lacy to doing a song that sounds like De’Lacy, because the similarity was never likely to cast it in a favourable light. Happily, it could be worse. Although it sounds stubbornly conservative in the face of the glimmering dynamism of “Hideaway”, it’s about as exuberant as Lacy’s vocal could bear. It doesn’t explode the myth of his concerted smoothness, but it gives it an interesting jolt.

Alfred Soto: A boring-ass vocal sinks an otherwise buoyant thumper that shows the continued refinement of Calvin Harris’ plebeian instincts — he’s recording good dance music, sumptuous enough to earn the Forbes plaudits.

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